In the wake of the horror that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown Connecticut, I’d like to remind myself of the good in the world. As my heart aches for the unimaginable loss suffered by the families in Newtown, I would like to share some moments that restore my faith in humanity. While it may only be a temporary fix, at least it transforms my sadness to joy. Happy New Year everybody
Photos courtesy of Buzzfeed.com unless otherwise stated.
The parents who made their son’s wheelchair into the best Halloween costume ever
The doctor who offered free medical care after Hurricane Sandy
The police officer who bought shoes for a barefoot homeless man
The famous rugby player who visited his biggest fan in the hospital
The man who soothes his arthritic dog that saved his life
Source: johnschoep.zenfolio.com / via: buzzfeed.com
These candidates for Parents of the Year award
And for every single moment anything like this happened.
In my ongoing quest to organize my apartment, I have found great storage use from old crates. While this is not a new concept (and reminise of many college dorms!) – my take on plastic crates is to PAINT THEM!
Spray paint works best. Which is unfortunate because I try to avoid the spray paints. Bad for the environment and expensive ($5 for only 16 oz of paint). However the coverage is great! You can see in the photo below how ordinary plastic crates can become extraordinary for your storage uses with just a simple spray of paint!
Old milk crates make great storage units. Now you can bring them back to life with a simple spray of paint!
Homemade veggie tacos
Besides running, my other love is Mexican food. I try to avoid meat so I have perfected a veggie taco recipe, and it is quite delicious!
Start with veggie round. I like Yves Original Veggie Ground Round. Saute onion with veggie round until onions are translucent. Add 1 cup of water and any taco seasoning mix. I like Old El Paso Taco seasoning mix. Let simmer until water has evaporated and you have the right consistency. You’ll find the veggie round a perfect substitute for meat and you won’t be able to taste or tell the difference!
Next I mash up some avocado with diced onion, squeeze of lime and some chopped coriander. For salsa, chop tomatoes, add diced onion, coriander and I always add some extra spicy hot Thai chili peppers! Add salt and pepper.
You can buy round tostidos or simply use hard shell tacos broken in half. Lie shells on baking sheet, add veggie mix, spicy salsa and top with cheese. Bake in 350-degree oven for 20-minutes. ENJOY with homemade guacamole! Ole!
Here is something I really cannot understand. Fellow runners who do not smile when we pass each other. When I run, I feel fantastic! Okay, maybe not while I’m chugging up that hill, but generally I’m happy. And what makes me even happier is seeing other runners.
Running is a mind sport. It’s your mind that keeps you going all those kilometers. It’s what’s in your head (or what you tell yourself) that gets you up those hills, that gets you out the door and what makes you sign up for those races. Once your body is trained, it’s all in the mind.
So when I pass other runners it’s not a competition. There is no race (and even if it were, I would still smile). Endorphins are firing, the sun is shining and we’re lucky to be healthy. To be able to run! So I often wonder, what is up with people who don’t smile back? Could be they’re lost in thought, oblivious to their surroundings. Very possible and I often find myself lost in thought as well.
If you happen to be a runner, smile back when someone smiles. It feels good, its encouraging and above all, it says we’re in this together.
Also known as Hairy Legs Granola, here’s my favorite recipe for homemade granola.
1.5 cups oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
2 cups various dried fruits*
1/2 cup flax seed (ground)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
* I especially like dates and dried cranberries. Raisins are good too, as are dried apricots. Try dried apple, or if you like sweet, dried pineapple. You can use almost any dried fruit!
Various dried fruit
I always make small batches because I like to mix and match the dried fruit and nut combinations. Small batches give me the opportunity to make different flavors.
I use 1 cup of the regular oats and 1/2 cup of organic oats. Toast the oats in the over at 350-degrees for 5 minutes. Then I toast the sliced almonds and then the coconut. I toast everything separately because all ingredients toast at different speeds. It takes a few extra minutes but ensures the coconut doesn’t burn and your oats get nicely toasted!
While toasting, I cut up the dried fruit. Dried fruit has sugars which make them sticky. To ensure the fruit doesn’t stick together I mix with ground flax seed. Then I dump all ingredients in a big bowl and start my “glue”.
The “glue” is the wet mixture that holds everything together. Start by melting the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Add honey and a splash of almond and vanilla extract. I’ve never known any recipe to mix these two extracts but the smell is just heavenly that I cannot help but use them both! Then a dash of salt to even out the sweet flavors.
Melt together the honey and butter
Once the mixture is melted I slowly drizzle over the dry ingredients, ensuring everything gets covered. Then I press into a pan and bake for 5 minutes at 350-degees. Remove from oven, let cool and ta-tah! You have delicious granola! Try it with some plain yogurt!
Really delicious granola
One of my favorite things about getting married was getting to pick my wedding dress! Every bride is different and has her own style (and budget)! Just for fun, I thought I’d share some of my favorite dresses that I found while I was looking. Oh what fun!
Alice Temperley's Long Jean Dress
Without a doubt, this dress (above) is among my top faves! Maybe it’s the hippy look, the sheer simplicity or the beaded cut-outs, or all the above! I’ll never forget this dress by British designer Alice Temperley. I even had my own dress tailor made to follow the soft, flowing skirt! Simply the best!
Jenny Packham's Claire (left) and Eden (right)
No wedding gown list is complete with mention of Jenny Packham. Having travelled to Toronto’s bridal gown boutique, White, just a few times to try on Ms Packham, I am a huge fan! The gown that first caught my eye from Jenny’s collection is Claire. A dress designed in memory of her friend. Coming in a close second is Eden. Do you see a trend here?
While admittedly I didn’t look at many of Claire’s gowns, Claire Pettibone has a timeless, romantic essence to her dresses that did not go unnoticed. I’m hard-pressed to pick any one Pettibone design simply because I haven’t studied them long enough. But if you like what you see so far, check her out at http://clairepettibone.com/
Without further ado, the designer I love to love… Australian fashionista Johanna Johnson! Right up my alley, Ms Johnson does bridal gowns like no other. Simple (ah, love that word when it comes to weddings) and lovely. What do you get? Simply lovely! She even inspired my jewellery choice, but I’ll save that for another day!
The timeless Johanna Johnson